Recently I've learned how a place can stay distinctly the same while your experience when you visit can change so greatly each time you return.
In college, seeing Italy through the eyes of someone not yet old enough to order her own beer back home in Georgia, I was lost most of the time in how very different everything was. How the towns practically shut down in the middle of the day, how the dinner hour didn't really start until after 9 p.m., how everyone seemed dressed in their best every day of the week, every hour of the day. It was colorful, loud, full and bright.
Eleven years later, celebrating our seven years of marriage and enjoying a short break from our two -- now oldest -- little people, Italy was romantic, offering beautiful views everywhere we looked, delicious food, bottomless glasses of wine, and excuses to linger at outdoor cafes after dark, watching the people go by and talking for hours. It was a time we wanted to stand still and it's probably a good thing we had so much waiting for us at home, otherwise, we may have been laying out our life savings to buy a ramshackle Tuscan villa.
Five more years passed (stop doing math) and I met Italy again this month, this time traveling as a daughter and sister. The shops still close up for long afternoon lunch breaks -- although less than I remembered -- the wine is still plentiful, and the people are still gracious, welcoming hosts. But on this visit, I had such a deeper appreciation for the beauty in the art, the lessons in the history and the opportunity for uninterrupted time with two of the most important women in my life. We laughed, we gaped in awe together, we ate ourselves silly. After eight months of planning it's hard to believe it's over.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I hope you enjoyed the trip. I had a hell of a time, myself, and I know Molly did too.
DAY ONE, Thursday || Travel to Rome
DAY TWO, Friday || Trastavere and Villa Borghese
DAY Three, Saturday || Ancient Rome
DAY FOUR, Sunday || Walk Through Historic Rome & The Appian Way
P.S., While there are more Parts to come, this first post wouldn't be complete without sharing my sincerest thanks with the men who made this crazy idea a reality.
To Clif, for letting us borrow and enjoy Molly's company for so many days; to Wes for holding down the home front with no complaint and your endless, tireless support; and to Dad for making this trip possible, trusting us to take Mom half-way around the world and make these memories that we'll recount around the dinner table for years to come.